By Alison Wood, Contributing Writer
There is little doubt that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on all our lives. People have lost loved ones, and businesses and livelihoods have been affected. We don’t yet know when this pandemic will be over, nor its long-term implications.
However, as with most things in life, there are two sides to every coin. Despite all the negativity associated with the pandemic, there are also positive ways in which it has changed our lives for the better. In an effort to find a silver lining, let’s explore some of those ways!
Slowing down life
The pandemic has caused the pace of life for many to slow down. With children being homeschooled and parents working from home, the daily rush to get out of the house every morning has been eliminated for many, and fewer hours are now spent commuting. This has allowed some families to cherish their time together. Before the pandemic, there was a general feeling that we all longed for more spare time. Now, with our ability to travel and socialize curtailed, that wish has been granted.
Appreciating the smaller things
Because our lives have shrunk down to the scale of time spent at home, it has become easier to appreciate the smaller things. On social media, people have reported that they now stop to notice nature more when they are out on a walk. Others have said that friendships have grown stronger because they are taking the time to check in with loved ones — albeit virtually — more often.
Being more grateful for technology
This leads us directly into the topic of technology and how we have become more grateful for the benefits it brings. If the pandemic had occurred pre-internet — as, of course, previous pandemics have — there is no doubt that it would have been more difficult to keep in touch with friends and family. Virtual meetings, video calls, and social media updates allow us to check in with those we care about.
Exploring new hobbies and interests
In the extra time we have available to us, some people have taken this as an opportunity to explore new hobbies, gain insight into existing interests, and learn new skills. Our digital age makes it easy to join virtual classes, access the online archives of libraries and museums, and even download new books to read. Whether we’re working out to a YouTube video or joining a Zoom book club, there’s little doubt that our minds and bodies are feeling the benefit.
Taking more time for everyday activities
If you ever check out Instagram or Facebook, you will see that people are also spending much more time on everyday activities. For example, there has been a resurgence in what many would consider the lost art of cooking from scratch. It seems like every other person has cooked a banana loaf — or ten — this year.
Jigsaws, crosswords, and board games have also seen a rise in popularity. The newly developed skills from home-based activities, especially practical crafts, such as crocheting, knitting, sewing, canning, and gardening, can serve us well now and into the future.
Lowering air pollution
With fewer cars on the road and a decline in industry around the world, it’s been estimated there will be an 8 percent reduction in global CO2 emissions this year. Fewer vehicles have also led to less air pollution, and with childhood asthma and Alzheimer’s both being linked to car emissions, this can only be a good thing.
Allowing nature to flourish
With fewer people going about their lives in towns and cities, one noticeable impact has been that wildlife has flourished. This has ranged from amusing stories of goats taking over a town in Llandudno, Wales, to more important research into how lockdowns might well help our dwindling bee population to recover worldwide.
As we emerge from this worldwide pandemic, it will be important to remember its positive lessons. Let’s hope that history shows that, as well as the downsides, this worldwide pause also brought about positive change.